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Playground Safety Tips

Over 200,000 children annually are seriously injured on America's playgrounds, according to the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS). Moreover, 15 percent of these injuries were classified as severe, with 3 percent requiring emergency room attention.

BCI Burke, a maker of playground, park, recreation and skate park equipment headquartered ion Fond du Lac, Wisc., offers safety tips for educating adults and children about common playground hazards and how to prevent mishaps.

"Unfortunately, the lack of adult supervision is a major problem on playgrounds locally and all across America," says Tim Ahern, President/CEO of Burke.

Education is the first step towards helping communities reduce injury statistics and make visits to the playground safer. Important tips to be aware of when building or playing on a playground include:

  • Due to the differing capabilities and needs of children, a play area should be provided for pre-schoolers, ages 2-5 as well as a separate play area for children 5-12. Be sure children play on equipment designated for their age.
  • It is vital to use surfacing around play structures. Options include but are not limited to pea gravel, engineered wood fiber, rubber, sand, and rubber tiles. It is best to consult with a certified playground installer or your playground manufacturer to ensure all safety guidelines are followed.
  • Be aware of openings on playgrounds - they should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches to prevent strangulation and trapping a child at play.
  • Make sure debris and litter is cleaned up promptly to prevent a tripping hazard as well as a health issue.
  • Look for safety signs on playgrounds that help inform parents and other supervisors, which structures are appropriate for the age of children in their care and remind them about adult supervision requirements.
  • Always supervise children at play. A majority of injuries occur on playgrounds because adults are not monitoring children.
    Be on the lookout for broken parts, rust, protruding hardware, sharp edges or other areas of disrepair.
  • Choose a cooler part of the day to play, if possible. Be sure to apply sunscreen to protect a child's delicate skin.
  • Interact with children at play. They take great pride in showing adults what they can do. And, this allows for better attention to safety.

Source: BCI Burke

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October 17, 2019, 9:08 am PDT

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